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Related News

Guide for using LinkedIn to promote your small business

(By Ashley Ferremi, Eiler PR in Ann Arbor. From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine)

While there are numerous social media sites available online, unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn’s primary target is the professional work force. According to LinkedIn, they reached 100 million users in March 2011 and that number continues to rise. 

What Do You Need to Do as a Small Business Owner in Order to Effectively Utilize LinkedIn?

  • Create a public profile where you can add connections and describe the skills you have and what your company can offer just as if you were an individual on LinkedIn. Ask for recommendations from people or businesses that you have done business with and from past or current employees. These will be beneficial when prospective customers or employees are on your LinkedIn profile. With recommendations, they can see evidence of work you have done for others in the past or the experience of your employees. This is especially useful if they do not share any connections with our company and would not otherwise trust your company.
  • Create a company page that LinkedIn users can choose to ‘follow’ which provides prospective clients or employees with an overview of your company, including facts about its history and founding, company size, location and the industry it operates in. The more information people can learn about your company the better.
  • Add links to the company website and any social media sites that you use on the company page and public profile. LinkedIn offers integration with Twitter where you can add a button right on your LinkedIn profile for users to follow your Twitter account. This will direct traffic to all sites and increase awareness of your company.
  • Provide updates that are relevant to the industry your company is in, your company itself, and people who would be viewing your pages. Whether you are looking to hire for certain positions, you need a company to help aid you in a certain task, or you want to announce news about your company, you can release updates that will be visible to all of your connections on LinkedIn. This can also be accomplished through blogging and articles that are posted on the LinkedIn public profile.
  • Define your perception through LinkedIn by using your public profile to convey the image that you wish to create. While remaining truthful, your company’s LinkedIn ought to display your desired perception. An example of where this has worked well is for the Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business in the way that they gained awareness of their capabilities of being innovative, applied, and global. It conveys the value of who they are because of what they wanted to be.

Key Ways LinkedIn Can Help a Small Business Grow

LinkedIn can be a great tool for recruiting new employees. With 100 million users on LinkedIn and counting, this is a great database for finding new talent. It provides the opportunity for people to connect with those who do or have worked for the business. If the person shares a connection with a past or current employee, there is a link to get introduced through a connection. LinkedIn helps to highlight the employees that your small business currently employs. The company page shows people any employees that are in their network, as well as alumni from their college. This aids prospective employees in learning more about the company by means of its current employees without being costly to the company. Additionally, these people will use the LinkedIn sites in order to learn more about the company through the updates and articles it posts and recommendations they read on the page which can contribute to recruiting. 

Prospective customer

Visa, AMEX, Master Card: are you getting the best terms and service on your credit card processing? Learn more at 10 a.m. today on Business Next!

Whether you're a credit card veteran or new to credit card processing, get all the money-saving facts today at 10 a.m. when Michael Rogers talks with Charlie Creamer of Midwest Transaction Group (SBAM's Approved Partner for merchant services.) Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business Network. Listen to archived programs anytime at your convenience on your PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.

Got a questions about credit card processing? Submit it in the comments below!

SBAM members get terrific discount for March 20 "Economic Gardening" learning program in Grand Rapids

New “economic gardening” resources and programs designed to help small businesses achieve rapid growth will be showcased at an SBAM event March 20 in Grand Rapids. Click here for registration details. Tickets are $60, but the price for SBAM members is $30. Plus, SBAM members who purchase a ticket will receive a free one-year subscription to Crain’s Detroit Business (a $24.50 value. Must be a new subscriber.)

Sponsored by SBAM in partnership with Crain’s Detroit Business, the event will be held 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. March 20 at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids. A keynote address will be presented by Mark Lange, executive director of the Edward Lowe Foundation. Panelists include SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler; Bonnie Alfonso, president and Chief Embellishment Officer for Alfie Logo Gear for Work and Play in Traverse City; and Yan Ness, Chief Executive Officer for Online Tech Inc. of Ann Arbor. Alfonso and Ness will share what they learned from their participation in the Pure Michigan Business Connect Economic Gardening Pilot Program.

The Title Sponsor for the event is the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Premier Sponsors are Clark Hill PLC and Consumers Energy. The Major Sponsor is Comcast Business Class. The Supporting Sponsor is hiredMYway. The Location Sponsor is the Amway Grand Plaza.

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/programwitch/

How you can create a productive, "leaderful" small business. Today at 10 a.m. on the Business Next free audio seminar

Program guest Dr. Joe Raelin talks with Michael Rogers about the key aspects of creating a "leaderful" small business operation. Raelin will conduct a March 14 program in Lansing sponsored by Capital Quality and Innovation (click here for details.) 

Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business Network. Listen to archived programs anytime at your convenience on your PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL

Resolutions Would Block Union Elections Rule

From SBAM's national affiliate, NSBA:

On Feb. 16, Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), along with 65 cosponsors, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives a resolution (H.J. Res. 103) to disapprove under the Congressional Review Act the union elections rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) late last year. A similar resolution (S.J. Res. 36) was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)which has 44 cosponsors.

Often referred to as the "ambush elections" rule, NSBA took a firm stance last year against the rule, filing comments which detailed the unfair process and significant burden it would pose for small businesses.

NSBA has submitted a letter in support of both resolutions which, if passed, would prevent the regulation from going into effect. Of primary concern with the ambush elections rule is the fact that unions can spend months or even years in advance of filing a petition to encourage employee support of unionization. The unions control when a petition is filed, giving them the upper-hand in planning and spreading information to the workforce. Employers, under this proposed rule, would then bear the full brunt of a shortened timeframe which, in certain circumstances, could be just 10 days following the filing of a petition. 

The current median time between a petition being filed and the elections is only 38 days. Moreover, unions prevailed in 71 percent of elections in FY 2011. It is unclear, therefore, that there even exists any major flaw in the process or major delays--as NLRB has claimed--that have prompted this proposal. 

The primary objective of the National Labor Relations Act is to “assure employees the fullest freedom to decide whether or not they desire union representation.” Employees ought to have unfettered access to information from both sides on the implications of a unionizing campaign before a vote would happen. This rule impedes that objective. 

The rule would dramatically limit the scope of the pre-hearing process. Previously, both the NLRB and courts have come to the conclusion that, as the law spells out, a pre-election hearing is necessary to ensure fairness to employers and to protect the rights of employees to make informed choices in the elections.